Morning Pages Unblock the Artist


Morning Pages

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is M is for Morning Pages.

Julia Cameron introduced Morning pages to the world in her book, The Artist’s Way. At the time The Artist’s Way was published, the ideas in it were revolutionary. The purpose of the book was to “unblock” artists and writers and foster their self-confidence.

Julia Cameron first published The Artist’s Way in 1992. Julia originally compiled tips and hints from artists, for artists, into a book and tried to get it published. It was turned down! Julia ended up self-publishing the book and the sales went wild. It’s sold millions of copies and is on the list of top 100 self-help books of all time. This is quite an encouraging story for self-published authors.

What are Morning Pages?

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done every morning, first thing in the morning. You simply get 3 sheets of paper and a favorite pen or pencil and write until the pages are filled. You can write anything that comes to mind. It might be what you dreamed the night before or an argument you had with your spouse before you even got out of bed. They could even be a grocery list if that’s what’s on your mind.

No one will ever see your morning pages. Even you aren’t meant to look back on them any more than you would peek into your rubbish bin at the end of the week. They almost are rubbish. Morning pages help you sort through the jumble of things that lay on your mind each morning when you wake up and clear it all out.

Morning Pages aren’t just for writers. They have helped people in an array of creative capacities. We all have the problem of becoming blocked oncein a while.

My Experience with Morning Pages

For me, Morning Pages are hard. They aren’t meant to be. There is no right or wrong way to do them. But I am a perfectionist of sorts. I often ponder a sentence for a half an hour, trying to figure out the right way to express a thought. Morning pages are meant to be fast—no pondering. No spelling or grammar check allowed.
Not only that but writing longhand is difficult for me, especially in the morning when my arthritic hands are at their stiffest. So, the handwriting looks awful, which bothers me.

Have Morning Pages Helped?

They have. As much as I don’t like doing them, they are like taking vitamins. Over the course of three pages, the thoughts in my mind that would ordinarily pop in and interrupt me as I am doing my creative writing are sorted out and dealt with. I write them as I drink the last of my morning coffee, and by the time I am done, I feel more energized. It could be the coffee.

They Take Time

Don’t expect to be a creative genius or have your stubborn writer’s block disappear after one set of Morning Pages. It does take a while. I feel confident that you will notice a difference within a couple of weeks, though. By the way, your feelings toward the morning pages won’t be much of an indicator of whether they are working or not. I still don’t like doing them. They force me to slow down and look inward (which I don’t like either). But both make me a better writer. Pick a notebook, any notebook and begin to write.

While you’re here, sign up for my email list to get a periodic email newsletter to encourage your creativity.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available at Amazon.com.

I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.

Have any Question or Comment?

15 comments on “Morning Pages Unblock the Artist

Although I talk about Morning Pages on my site too, and have done them off and on for years, lately it has been more off than on. But I do think they have tremendous value so I will be returning to them tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement, Heather. Enjoy your weekend.

I like the idea of morning pages and can see the logic but am never (ever) inspired to write when I first wake up. I usually have a headache, need to take care of that, get my coffee, bang my head against the wall–now I’m ready. Well, yeah, that’s still morning so maybe it qualifies!

Thank you, Karen. When I first heard of the concept, I actually resisted at first because of my perfectionist tendencies. But I gave it the good college try and I’m glad I did because I could really tell a difference in my ability to focus on my actual writing projects because I had cleared all the cobwebs out during morning pages. Have an awesome weekend!

Hi Jacqui, I usually do them while I drink my coffee. Although last night at 3 AM I did 2 pages just so I could clear the thoughts out of my head and sleep. It was nothing major, just the little thoughts that interfere with sleep and creativity. Once I got them down on paper I fell fast asleep. Have a wonderful weekend!

I have a writing friend who just started doing these and they really help her. I haven’t tried them. Mostly because it takes me some time to get awake enough to think. LOL

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
My A to Z’s of Dining with IC
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Hi Heather this is the second time in a week I’ve read mentions of The Artist’s Way so I will have to check it out. I have tried journalling but my thoughts just don’t come easily and I have trouble writing them down. I suppose I look at my blogging as my journalling as this type of writing comes easier to me. I will read the book and hopefully find more inspiration. Have a great day!

Hi Patricia, I’m a night person, too. Thankfully, morning pages don’t require too much thinking. I sometimes write down my mental conversation, “What do I need to do today? Too much. Oh yeah, we’re almost out of toilet paper-and yams. I need yams for Friday….” That sort of thing. Have a great weekend!

I love this idea and this is the first I’ve heard of it so thanks for sharing! I’ve been struggling a lot with writing anything of worth and think this could very well be my solution!

Thanks for writing,

Sarah Butland
author of Cherish Your Treasures and Being Grateful, Being Thankful

Yes indeed, it’s much like exercise to tone up certain muscles. I carry my notebooks with me wherever I go. Ten minutes here, half an hour there. Thank you for visiting my blog. Happy A to Z!

I LOVE morning pages. I did them for years, and now my life can’t handle them at the moment, and I miss them terribly. I used to wake up at 5:30 or 6:00 to do them before the rest of the world woke up. Now, my daughter is in high school and she has to wake up at this time to catch the bus. I can’t wake up earlier than that and don’t have time afterwards as I have to get to the day job. I hope to pick them up again in the summer, if only for a bit.

Hi Sarah, I hope it is helpful. I just checked out your blog. It’s wonderful! I’ve had times when I’ve felt like I’m just not getting a lot of good writing done. I think sometimes, there are things brewing when we don’t realize it. Then, suddenly they pour out. I hope that happens for you. 🙂

Hi Lillian, You are so right. Often while waiting somewhere I will see an interesting person who would make a great character.I begin to make up their backstory in my mind. Writing this sort of thing down is important, or too soon, it gets lost in the reeds. Have a great weekend!

Hi Shari, We certainly go through seasons of life when things get so busy. I must have a list a mile long of things I will take up/resume once the kids are out of the house. I guess it’s my motivation to keep going. 😉

I have heard of morning pages, but I won’t be doing them. It sounds like they’re a great exercise. I bet they’re very helpful.

But for me, it won’t be happening. On a work day, I get out of bed with just enough time to get ready and get to work on time. (And we’ll not even get into how badly I get writer’s cramp.) I know, set the alarm an hour earlier to give myself more time. I’ve attempted this. It doesn’t work. I’ll look at the clock, realize I still have an hour to sleep, and I’ll go back to sleep.

Now, if there were evening pages…

Hi Liz, They’re not for everyone. I would think evening pages would be good, especially if you’ve worked all day and need to clear your mind before writing. But don’t worry if the whole process doesn’t suit you. There are plenty of other ways to flex your creative muscles. Have a great day!

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